The Nightmare Returns

With a season now under my belt you would think that I would look at the upcoming season with less anxiety. After all, I have completed 5 triathlon’s, a few 5k’s (actually 15+ if you include the weekly 5k pub run’s on Thursday night), and a half marathon. Should be no problems right?

Tuesday night I signed on once again for the Team in Training group to raise money and compete in St. Anthony’s Triathlon. If you have read this blog over the last year, you know that this was the site of, what I called, my Epic Failure (and was quickly set upon by blog readers and Daily Milers admonishing me for this label). I got food poisoning at 2 AM the morning of the race, and although I went out and got body marked, and set up my transition, I pulled out before starting.

I will be brutally honest here though. It was almost a relief. I was scared to death of that swim. I didn’t feel I was prepared for the race as a whole, and just coming off a bad first triathlon experience at Escape from Fort DeSoto, I was in panic mode, which probably made the stomach and sickness issues worse.

So why sign up again??

I HAVE to beat this fear I have, especially of swimming in Open Ocean.

This was the scene last year:

They ended up shortening and moving the swim due to these conditions, and have actually changed the swim location permanently this year, but when we got to the race site on Saturday morning and saw that water, my heart dropped to my stomach.
It’s not the swimming itself. In a pool I do very well, averaging a 30:00-32:00 per mile pace. At Crystal River I was swimming the 1/4 mile leg in under 10:00. It is something about the venues where there are currents and waves that provoke fear in me that I am finding it very hard to work through.
Let me preface this by saying that some of the fear if justified. I had cancer in 1994 that damaged nerves in my throat. At times, my throat will seize up to where I cannot breathe unless I stay calm until it releases. This has happened to me out of the blue many times, and more times than I can remember it has happened in the middle of the night while sleeping. Imagine being jarred awake with your throat closed and unable to catch a breath? Scary right?
This has never happened to me during a swim, training or racing, but the thought of it happening scares the Hell out of me. So it is not physical in the sense that I cannot DO the swim. It’s in my head.
How do you cure THAT???

One thought on “The Nightmare Returns

  • November 25, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Hmm? How do you cure THAT? I may have to sleep on this one. You know I have an answer for everything but this time not off the top of my head. You will get beyond this fear before St. A's!

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